Pro-Trump women’s group sued over right to paint a message on NYC streets

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Pedestrians walk on a Black Lives Matter mural painted in front of Trump Tower, Friday, July 10, 2020, in New York. (Yuki Iwamura/AP)

A group based in Virginia is forcing the government of New York City to put its biases on full display, suing over a sign the group wanted to paint on a New York street, just as “Black Lives Matter” was recently painted on the pavement just outside Trump Tower.

A group called “Women for America First” says the city wrongly turned down its request to paint an “empowering” message on the pavement outside Gracie Mansion or in Times Square. The painted message was to have read: “Engaging, Inspiring and Empowering Women to Make a Difference!”

The small, pro-Trump group sued on July 23 in Manhattan Federal Court, contending that the city violated its First Amendment rights by arbitrarily picking which “political” messages to allow to be painted on the street. New York officials violated the First Amendment by “favoring the viewpoint of the political message painted on Fifth Avenue and other New York City streets over the message plaintiff has requested to paint,” the suit maintains.

Mayor Bill De Blasio tried to argue on July 23 that Black Lives Matter was not “a political message in the traditional sense,” even though the “artists” who painted it deliberately did so right outside Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, essentially ensuring that the words would have political impact.

“I think it’s a message about human respect and the value of human beings and addressing the fact that one group amongst us in particular has been devalued for centuries. And that can’t go on. I think it transcends any notion of politics,” he said.

By all appearances, Women For America First appears to be a small group, with 3,600 followers on Twitter and less than 1,000 tweets. Its website features a photo of the White House, a request for donations, merchandise for sale and little other information.

“There are millions of women who support the America First Agenda and we’re not standing in the shadows anymore! We won’t be pushed around by bullies who tell us who we are ‘supposed’ to like. And we’re not going to keep quiet just because the Washington, D.C. power elites and mainstream media want us to!” a statement on the site reads.

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